Mexican Chocolate Cupcakes with Dulce De Leche Frosting

Mexican chocolate, if you haven’t seen it before, is a combination of sweetened chocolate, cinnamon and sometimes other spices and is sold in discs at some regular grocers and all Mexican grocers. It can also be purchased online, even at Amazon. Mexican chocolate is a complex combination of flavors and when added to these cupcakes, produces a velvety soft crumb that is almost addicting. Topped off with a Dulce De Leche buttercream frosting, these cupcakes are sure to dazzle.

You probably remember me posting about these Mexican chocolate cupcakes before.  In my previous version the cupcake recipe was from scratch and the frosting is different. While those that have made the recipe and my neighbors that taste tested these for me all thought the frosting was great, I was concerned that it was a bit too sugary. Notice I didn’t use the word sweet since the frosting I have chosen to replace it with is made from dulce de leche, a thick, sweet milk caramel.

I also decided to use a cake mix this time because around the holidays the kitchen is a hectic place. We want to spend time with our families and not have to be a slave to the oven. So in the interest of convenience, I’ve adjusted my from scratch recipe to this doctored cake mix version. :)

You can make your own homemade dulce de leche by slowly simmering a can of sweetened condensed milk immersed in water for a few hours. It can also be made in less than 20 minutes by placing an open can of sweetened condensed milk in a pan of simmering water. You can also but pre-made dulce de leche in the Mexican food aisle of your supermarket. For convenience sake, that’s what I did to make this frosting. If you use a homemade version you will need the mixture to cool completely before making this recipe.

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The Dulce De Leche frosting turned out wonderful, sweet but not face puckering sweet, and a marvelous compliment to the Mexican chocolate flavor of the cupcakes. I’ve made it both with a convenient can of ready made frosting and also a from scratch version. Both are below, choose whichever suits your tastes. A perfect finish to a tasty Mexican meal!

Note: You can make the cupcakes and the frosting ahead, just store them separately in the refrigerator. Remove frosting from the refrigerator about 30 minutes early, then frost the cupcakes as desired.

Mexican Chocolate Sour Cream Cupcakes
with Dulce De Leche Frosting

printable version

1 box Betty Crocker Super Moist butter recipe yellow cake mix
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 cup buttermilk or milk
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
3 eggs
1 8-oz container Breakstone’s sour cream
4 oz Mexican chocolate (like Ibarra or Abuelita) (1 disc plus 2 triangles)

Dulce De Leche Frosting

1 can vanilla frosting
1 can of Nestles Dulce De Leche
sifted powdered sugar
Silver dragees

Preheat oven to 350 F and line muffin tins with cupcake liners (makes 24 cupcakes).

Coarsely chop the chocolate and place in a glass or metal bowl over a simmering pot of water. Mexican chocolate contains sugar and cinnamon and will not melt smooth and shiny the way regular chocolate does. Just keep checking it and gently mashing it with a heavy rubber spatula. It will melt into more of a paste-like consistency. Turn off heat and place chocolate in a room temperature bowl to cool while to make the batter.

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In mixer bowl combine cake mix, spices, buttermilk, butter, eggs and sour cream. Beat on lowest speed for 30 seconds to moisten. Turn off mixer and add the chocolate. Beat again on low speed for 15-20 second to mix in the chocolate. Turn off mixer and scrape down sides. Turn mixer on medium speed and beat for two minutes.

Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full and bake for 22-26 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in pan. Remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely before frosting.

Make the Frosting

Empty content of frosting container into a large mixing bowl. Add the Dulce De Leche and blend well. Add small amounts of powdered sugar until you reach desired consistency. Mix on medium for 3 minutes.

Frost as is or fill a pastry bag and pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle with silver dragees.

For the homemade version of this frosting:

Homemade Dulce De Leche Frosting

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 can of Nestles Dulce De Leche
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup heavy cream
Pinch of sea salt
Silver dragees

Beat butter in mixer on medium speed until creamy. Slowly add 2 cups of the sifted powdered sugar. Add vanilla extract and half of the heavy cream. Mix until well incorporated. Add half of the Dulce De Leche and mix until blended well. Add the remaining heavy cream, then add the remaining Dulce De Leche. Add salt and blend well. Continue adding powdered sugar until you reach desired consistency. Mix on medium for 4 minutes.

Try my Mexican Quesados appetizer and my Shredded Chicken and Chile Enchiladas for a complete menu!

(If you enjoyed this post, I’d truly appreciate a stumble, Digg, facebook share, whatever you like! :) )

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  1. Sally says

    woweee! these look amazing, i can almost taste them just be looking at the photo (lol!). I am going to have to try these ones out, they have that delicious mix of spices in them that is so great at this time of year.

  2. Sue says

    These look so precision and beautiful, and sound delicious! I have some Mexican chocolate in my cupboard, but I've only used it for hot chocolate:) I need to be more adventurous!

  3. MaryBeth says

    They look wonderful, I love that you used the little silver balls for decorations. I have tried to buy them many times in Oregon and I am told that they are no longer avail to purchase.

  4. Amanda says

    Thanks all!

    Marybeth – I've had mine for a while, but i did a google search and looks like you can still buy them online! :)

  5. Velva says

    These cupcakes rock! Love Mexican chocolate. Thanks for sharing.

    I discovered your blog via Rebecca at Chow and Chatter. Glad I did! I am following you on Twitter and now your newest follower on your blog site.

  6. Denise Michaels - Adventurous Foodie says

    Generally I'm not a big "cake person." Love pies, scones, cookies and so many other sweet treats – but cake I can pretty much always pass up.

    However, girrrrrrl, I'm really thinking seriously about these cupcakes. I discovered Mexican chocolate when I moved from Michigan to the Southwest. And any chocolate with caramel is just worth getting in the kitchen and going to work. *smile*

  7. Barbara @ Modern Comfort Food says

    Whoa, Amanda! These cupcakes are uber-decadent, easy, and absolutely delicious looking. Who could ask for more?

  8. Lea Ann says

    As much Mexican cooking as I do, I'm even surprised that I've not had Mexican Chocolate. Will have to look for it. These cupcakes look wonderful Amanda.

  9. Melanie Schoenhut says

    Oh! Amazing! You combined the Mexican Chocolate cupcakes with Dulce De Leche. This one is great! I should really try this one this weekend. MY hubby will surely love this one. Thanks for the idea.

  10. Amanda says

    Anon – Thanks so much for looking out for me! That's so nice of you :) Breakstone's actually has the written rights to use this recipe on their site though, I developed it for their contest and did agree to allow them to use it online and in print. Thank you so much, so nice to know that there are readers out there like you watching my back! HUGS!

  11. mauriciovaldez says

    That looks fantastic, I just want to grap them from the pic and eat them. I used to get mexican goodies in London but I am living now in Hull up north in England, does anybody know a store where I can get mexican chocolate, chili etc? even in Leeds or Manchester, I would travel to get these goodies, its even cheaper than getting it from webshops! Cheers!!

  12. Monica Carten says

    Hi Amanda,

    I made these for my husband who loves Chocolate and they were a hit. I used Abuelita chocolate, also greek yogurt instead of sour cream because that’s what I had at home. I also made my own dulce de leche by microwaving condensed milk. Thanks for recipe!!

  13. Sarah says

    Hi Amanda! Love this recipe, but mine came out way lighter in color than yours! I used 1 disk and 2
    small triangles of the mexican chocolate and the same cake mix as yours so I can’t figure it out! Any suggestions?
    Maybe I need to add more Mexican chocolate?


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